AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program, has partnered with Practical Farmers of Iowa to offer a Cover Crop Boot Camp for farmers looking to expand their understanding of cover crops and learn how to take the next step in adopting the practice on their farms. The event will take place Tuesday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.
Participants in this free event will hear how farmers are working with cover crops to reduce nitrogen and herbicide inputs, growing their own cover crop seed and incorporating their cover crops with livestock.
“This event provides farmers with an opportunity to hear the lessons learned – both good and bad – from farmers who have implemented cover crops in Iowa,” said Liz Ripley, conservation and cover crop outreach specialist with Iowa Learning Farms. “Providing opportunities for farmer-to-farmer sharing of information and experiences is core to the ILF mission, and we are looking forward to both the conversations and questions during the event program and breaks.”
The program features nine active farmers presenting sessions titled, “How to Cut Nitrogen with Cover Crops,” “How to Grow Your Own Cover Crop Seed,” “How to Feed Cover Crops to Livestock” and “How to Reduce Herbicide Costs with Cover Crops.”
In addition, for those arriving Nov. 29, Jen Simpson, Practical Farmers sales strategist, will keynote a fun and interactive discussion on winning over interested farmers and disarming neighborhood naysayers, at a pre-boot camp happy hour and dinner. The evening will include networking and social time as well as activities to help prepare proponents for engaging in why (or why not) cover crop conversations that help score points with even the toughest of crowds.
“This boot camp is a perfect way for farmers of all experience levels to learn more and get questions answered about cover crops,” said Sarah Carlson, Practical Farmers strategic initiatives director. “It’s also a place to make connections that will help farmers be more successful. Everyone will walk away with valuable information they can take home and put to use right away.”
To learn more about the program or to register, visit https://practicalfarmers.org/programs/cover-crops/cover-crop-boot-camp/. The program is offered free of charge, however registration is required for space and food planning.
The Cover Crop Boot Camp is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and is made possible by the support of 4R+, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Seed Association, Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University, Montag Manufacturing and The Nature Conservancy.
— Liz Ripley, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach